Miller: First quarter of 2023 MotoGP season ‘crucial’
Tuesday 31st January, 2023 - 1:20pm
Jack Miller says that the first quarter of the 2023 MotoGP season will be crucial in his adaptation to the KTM RC16.
Miller has switched to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing after five years on Ducati Desmosedicis, the latter two spent at the factory team.
While the various bikes on the MotoGP grid have converged somewhat in their characteristics in recent years, there still tends to be a settling in process for most riders who change makes.
The most recent to make the change was Maverick Viñales, who struggled with the Aprilia RS-GP, his first MotoGP bike with a V4 engine, relative to incumbent team-mate Aleix Espargaro.
Viñales had in fact been given a head start on his RS-GP journey following the messy divorce from Yamaha midway through 2021, but finished the 2022 campaign 11th in the standings compared to Espargaro’s fourth.
Miller noted the initiation of ‘Top Gun’ with Aprilia while speaking on his season ahead with KTM.
“For sure it’s not easy – switching manufacturers, bikes, riding styles all factor into it,” said the four-time MotoGP race winner.
“It’s never easy when you’re stuck in your ways and habits you learned on another motorcycle. You have to get rid of them or adapt.
“We saw [that] last year with Maverick and the Aprilia. I’m sure we’ll see a bigger improvement for him.
“[But] I don’t want to look at other people’s results and base my adaptation off that. I’m just here to do the best I can.
“In a perfect world, if we could gel in the first tests, then we’d be there in Portimao [Round 1], but that’s a perfect world.
“We have a couple of tests before then so the biggest thing is to stay fit and healthy, do as much on the bike to make it second nature as possible and understand what it needs.
“This first quarter is going to be the most crucial part of the year, just understanding the bike and what we need to do with the bike.”
Meanwhile, test rider Dani Pedrosa will make a wildcard appearance in April’s Spanish Grand Prix, joining Miller and Brad Binder in Red Bull KTM colours.
MotoGP will hold a Shakedown Test at Sepang on February 5-7, for test riders and the sole rookie (GasGas’s Augusto Fernandez) in the field, before all of the race riders are set to converge on the Malaysian MotoGP venue on February 10-12.
After another test at Portimao, Round 1 takes place at the Portuguese circuit in late-March.
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